At #TDGX, a silent auction system for bidding future keepers on a draft slot was introduced. A couple of the experts in that league broke down their thoughts on bidding for Mike Trout.

Mike Buttil at TDG wrote about his team’s decision to bid 15 keepers for Trout

Mike Newman at RotoScouting wrote about his decision NOT to win Trout

In The Dynasty Guru Reader League (#TDGR), we copied the invisible hand system and the winning team for the first pick bid 20 keepers. This, at face value, seems to me crazy. BUT its impact on the economy and value of 2014 keepers is worth exploring. It’s early still to see how this plays out, but I’m going to hypothesize.

First, some breakdowns:

  • Everyone in #TDGR knew about the expert league, so we all knew what was spent for the slots in that format
  • In every other way this reader league mirrors the expert league, so the economics of draft slot bidding should be more or less identical EXCEPT this is a brand new system so the market hasn’t had a chance to correct itself yet
  • The Reader league is dealing with readers, but combined the 20 managers have over 230 years of fantasy baseball experience. 

Now I’m going to review the bids for the first slot, and the winning bids.

Breaking Down Bids



As you can see from the table above, there are only 4 teams who didn’t submit ANY bid for Trout. The average bid rounds to 8 keepers. The top 3 bids were 20, 18, and 16. Perhaps notably, no one was willing to bid the same amount that Mike B at #TDGX bid for Trout. 

So what happened here?

My theory is that 17 teams saw 15 as the going rate for Trout, put in a token bid thinking maybe they’d get lucky (maybe everyone else saw 15 as too much too and then getting a tie for 10 could be really worth it!). 3 teams saw 15 as the going rate and decided they wanted Trout enough to bid up. These guys knew if you wanted Trout, you had to get crazy. They were willing to get pretty crazy.

The Mikes’ linked above get into the economics of Trout more, so I’m going to leave this for our edification.

Now let’s look at the total bids across all rounds. I’m going to show the winning bid compared to the average:


I calculated all bids here, so if a team won pick 3 but also bid on every other pick, that is part of the average.

FWIW, that’s me at pick 19 bidding 1 keeper. 

Why it’s worth bidding

Nearly everyone in #TDGR bid on some pick. Remember, by default everyone carries 35 keepers into the next season and throws back 5 players. The keepers bid are EXTRA on top of the 35, so the Mike Trout team will be throwing 25 keeprs in, pick 2 will throw 15, etc. To decide whether to bid or not, you basically must pick from the following choice

After the 2014 season, my team

  1. Will have 35 players worth carrying into 2015
  2. Will NOT have 35 players worth carrying into 2015

You have to make this decision for yourself. HOWEVER, knowing that the first 3-5 picks will be worth substantially more than every other pick, you have to consider what the 2015 player pool will be.

Normally, the player pool for this league in each year’s 5 round draft will be the available MLB players (including the 100 players we’ll always throw back, but also any otherwise unsigned player) PLUS any new Rule 4 draftees or International Free Agents who are not eligible to be picked up the previous year. Most years, the bottom 5 guys on any given team will probably be busted prospects, retirees, or players so far below replacement level that they’re essentially free via FAAB. One should figure that of the 100 players not kept, maybe 25%-50% of them could be drafted in the last rounds but probably weren’t worth acquiring via trade.

HOWEVER, after this first year the player pool will be the new rule 4 draftees/int’l FA’s, PLUS 163 players not kept, plus everyone else.

My theory here will be that of the 163 players not kept, more than 50% will end up being drafted in the 2015 5 round draft. Coupled with what is supposed to be a strong crop of 2014 rule 4 draftees, the 2015 draft player pool in this league should be fairly deep.

BASED ON THIS, I’m speculating that the value of the 35th man on my roster changes for 2014-2015. When I’m going to have to decide who to keep and who to cut at the end of the season, I have a few choices to make. Primarily, where am I going to draft? Then, who do I think will fall to me in the first round and is he better than my 35th man? 

My guess is that, with the depth we’re facing, for EVERYONE in the league the answer to this will be “yes, the player in round 1 of the 2015 draft will be better than my 35th man.” Now, suddenly, it may not be worth carrying all 35 keepers. Getting into that supplemental round may return some value. I wouldn’t be surprised, for instance, if some of the teams who didn’t lose any keepers still decide to throw and extra 1 or 2 back just to see what they get in the supplemental rounds.

Another Minor Factor

For me, it was worth bidding something to get near a turn. This is going to be a slow draft and knowing I’ll have picks close together had value to me. With that, I wish I had bid more for picks 3-5, but I’m happy I got pick 19. If you decide to join a similar league with a deep, long, slow draft, take this into account. If you’re doing a live draft, this isn’t really that important and I think that significantly impacts the way one should bid.

Parting Thoughts

The value of one of the first few picks here can be debated, but at least for 2014 I do believe there is value. There will be a total of 800 players drafted in 2014, and ~737 coming back to 2015. With 23 man rosters, that means 460 players will be actively rostered with the remainder as bench pieces, depth, or minors. The first round of the 2015 draft in this league should be rich with talent, either via upside in prospects who are now eligible or keeper pieces who could bolster a bench and provide depth. By the time the first 100 guys are taken in that 5 round draft, the supplemental rounds will begin and at least 7 people will participate in this first round. I took a gamble, betting to get near the turn, that I’d get something back in this supplemental round better than whoever my 40th man will be at the end of the season. That’s a gamble I think everyone in this league should have been willing to make.